Preps

Wednesday, Apr 30 2014 09:57 PM

Falcons sprinter Saunders signs with Cal St. Fullerton

  1. 1 of 8

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Bianca Moreno thanks many of her friends, coaches and family during the assembly Wednesday at Independence High when she signed her letter of intent to play soccer for Waldorf College in Iowa.

    click to expand click to collapse
  2. 2 of 8

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Emily Lopes had a happy day Wednesday at Independence High signing her letter of intent to play volleyball for the University of Albany next season.

    click to expand click to collapse
  3. 3 of 8

    By Csaey Christie / The Californian

    Kyra Saunders gets a hug from assistant track coach for Independence High School Bobby Gridiron after she signed her letter of intent to run track for Cal State Fullerton.

    click to expand click to collapse
  4. 4 of 8

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Isabelle Martinez signed a letter of intent Wednesday at Independence High School to play softball for San Jose State next season.

    click to expand click to collapse
  5. 5 of 8

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Israel Martinez, right, the Independence High School assistant softball coach, speaks highly about his daughter, Isabelle Martinez, left, on Wednesday before she signs her letter of intent to play softball for San Jose State.

    click to expand click to collapse
  6. 6 of 8

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Emily Lopes was happy to sign her letter of intent Wednesday at Independence High School to attend the University of Albany to play volleyball.

    click to expand click to collapse
  7. 7 of 8

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Independence High School student Kyra Saunders, right, gets a congratulatory hug from fellow student Lauren Dellinger, after signing her letter of intent to attend Cal State Fullerton on a track scholarship, Wednesday, at Independence.

    click to expand click to collapse
  8. 8 of 8

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Independence HIgh School student Bianca Moreno signs her letter of intent Wednesday to attend Waldorf College in Iowa to play soccer.

    click to expand click to collapse
BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer zewing@bakersfield.com

Independence's budding athletic program showed off four girls athletes Wednesday, all of them bound for college athletics.

They all had different stories:

Two weeks ago, senior track and field star Kyra Saunders figured she'd stay local for college, or perhaps try the junior-college route.

That's when Saunders piqued some last-minute interest from Cal State Fullerton. Two days ago, she went to Fullerton to visit and verbally committed to the Titans on the spot.

Now, the sprinter is bound for Division I.

"It's exciting and kind of scary," she said. "I was kind of scared I wouldn't get in anywhere, but the North High coach (Jermaine Spence) knows the Fullerton coaches well and contacted them and sent them some video."

The volleyball coaches at the University of Albany had to come much farther to see Independence volleyball setter Emily Lopes, but the Great Danes apparently didn't care, making the trip multiple times and inking Lopes to a national letter of intent.

"I loved the town -- that East-coast old feel, all the cool buildings," Lopes said. "It's a great feeling to know my hard work has paid off."

Lopes is the first Division I volleyball signee from Independence's successful volleyball program.

"I hope I just energize other people to work hard and get to this day," she said.

Isabelle Martinez also worked hard, especially once she realized playing Division I softball was a possibility.

The Falcons third baseman signed with San Jose State.

"I'm really surprised," she said. "I didn't think I was capable of playing in college, but I put myself out there and it changed my perspective."

Specifically, Martinez said she went to a San Jose State camp last summer on a bit of a whim and emerged with serious interest from the Spartans, who eventually got her signature over Cal State Monterey Bay and Cal State Bakersfield.

"I really like the program," she said. "I got along with everyone, and the coaches are really good. They really approach softball in a good way that makes you play hard."

The fourth Independence signee was Bianca Moreno, who will play soccer for Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa.

Moreno will play defender for the NAIA program, which had coaches come out to the West Coast to watch her play club soccer several times.

"It's always been a dream," Moreno said. "I always wanted to play college soccer, and now it's here."

Have something to share? Comment on this story

Bakersfield.com Daily Deal!

Tommy Gun's Pizza

Daily Deal

$20 worth of pizza for $10 from Tommy Gun's Pizza

Value
$20
% Off
50%
You Save
$10
0 Bought
Buy Now! See more deals
What do you think?